McDonald’s isn’t known for taking chances. The 67 year old burger chain has been successful by being consistent, and while you can always count on McDonald’s for your Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, if you want to try something new, this isn’t really your place. When McDonald’s dropped the BTS, Travis Scott, and J Balvin meals these past few years, they sold out and inspired wrap-around-the-block drive-thru lines without actually adding any new food to the menu — it was just simple branding and marketing and it worked. So we don’t exactly fault McDonald’s for playing it safe. “If if ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I guess.
But most recently the brand did actually do something new. And it seems to have worked almost too well.
At the beginning of this month, McDonald’s unveiled Adult Happy Meals for the first time. Again, they didn’t add anything new to the menu, but they did offer a new set of toys for adults. No, that doesn’t mean McDonald’s started pairing burgers and nuggets with vibrators and Flesh Lights — though, give them time, in this world, nothing surprises us anymore — we’re talking about actual toys here. Little plastic figurines have proved to be so popular that not only are they sold out at all McDonald’s locations across the country, but they’re reselling on sites like eBay for thousands of dollars.
CNBC points to one listing, in particular, containing three of the four figurines unopened with an asking price of $300,000.95. No, that’s not a typo, but hey, at least the winning bidder will get to enjoy free shipping! Single figurines are selling for a much more modest price of $16.95-$10,000 which is still a lot of money for a f*cking toy.
So… you may fairly be asking yourself: why? And the answer is that streetwear drop culture, where exclusivity and rarity are the ultimate forms of cool, has finally hit the realm of fast food.
Streetwear enjoys (or is plagued by, depending on who you ask) a resale culture that allows people to flip highly desirable footwear and apparel for almost obscene prices, and for that reason, tons of big brands have tried to get in on the streetwear game. Just about every fast food joint from Popeyes to Wendy’s has attempted to drop streetwear-inspired merch to little success. Mostly because they don’t fundamentally understand drop culture. People don’t buy things because they simply exist, McDonald’s was smart enough to recognize that, which is why they teamed up with one of the hottest streetwear brands in the game to back their adult Happy Meal collection — Cactus Plant Flea Market.
Created by designer Cynthia Lu, who has worked extensively with Pharrell Williams at Billionaire Boys Club, the brand is beloved by fashionable rappers and musicians including Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, and Playboi Carti, to name a few. Part of what makes Cactus Plant Flea Market so special is the air of mystery that surrounds the brand, their output is always colorful, fun, and surprising. You never really know what CPFM is going to do next, but when they do it, it always seems out of left field — like collaborating with McDonald’s. I guarantee you that no one saw this collaboration coming, mainly because it seems weird that CPFM would even be on McDonald’s radar in the first place!
The partnership included a new Happy Meal box designed by Cactus Plant Flea Market (the boxes alone are reselling for anywhere between $4-$8, which is a lot of money for a cardboard box), four happy meal figurines, including Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie, and CPFM’s own Cactus Buddy (the most desirable of the four figurines), and a merch collection of dual-branded t-shirts and hoodies. All of which have sold out. We have to give credit to CPFM for highlighting Grimace, the Hamburgular, and Birdie and wisely ignoring Ronald McDonald. No one wants a tiny clown figurine.
It’s not out of the ordinary for a Cactus Plant Flea Market drop to sell out, so this is much less about renewed interest in McDonald’s, as it is the typical fanfare that follows a CPFM drop. Still, is $300,000.95 still too much for a set of three toys? Absolutely, and it’s safe to assume that that particular listing, which has nearly 300 watchers, won’t sell at that price and was mostly a joke or an inside job to create buzz. Hey, like this article!
Still, a few people out there are sure to rake in a whole lot of cash for a cheap piece of plastic. Welcome to drop culture!